Categories
Dinner Florida Lunch

Top 5 Pizza Spots in Tampa Bay

Pizza is often considered one of those convenient foods. Pick up the phone call your favorite carryout and bam you have dinner in less than an hour (with a clean kitchen). Honestly over the past few months of my blogging I’ve come to realize it is more than a convenience, it is a craft. Kids love pizza, if you even mention it they go crazy. As an adult I want that same enthusiasm regarding pizza but on a more sophisticated level than just cheese or pepperoni. I want to bite into a slice of pizza and instantly jump for joy in utter satisfaction. I’ve traveled throughout the Tampa Bay area and I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 places that have the best pie.

1. Midici

2424 Tyrone Blvd North. Ste #524B St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Veni Vedi Veci Midici which was an LA based company has recently expa

nded to the St. Pete area. This is as authentic napolean pizza as it gets.

2. Eddie and Sams

203 E Twiggs St. Tampa, FL 33602

Offering NY style pizza by the slice or a full pie in the downtown Tampa area. It’s an excellent choice for lunch. Try the eggplant parmesan for a hearty treat.

3. Ava’s

718 S. Howard. Tampa, FL 33606

Inspired Italian, wood fire pizza located in the SoHo district of Tampa Bay. Ava’s is serving up more than pizza, but their pizza was good enough to make the top 5.

4. Mellow Mushroom

The psychedelic feel makes it an out of this world experience. It’s worth a trip to Brandon, but plan accordingly there is usually a wait (and for good reason).

5. Westshore Pizza

10309 Causeway Blvd. Brandon, FL 33619


The crust is so soft. The slices are large and the prices are good. Give the white ricotta spinach pizza a try! Its amazing!!

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Best Benedict's in Tampa Bay

Eggs Benedict has to be the King of Brunch.  It is featured on almost every brunch menu and if it’s not then you should get up and leave.  I’ve been on a quest to try as many brunch spots as I can in Tampa.  These aren’t just your basic eggs Benedict, the chef’s at these places have spent time thinking of how to creatively craft together masterpieces.  This  is a list of the places in Tampa that have the BEST Eggs Benedict.

Boca Brandon

20170722_120210BBQ Pork on toast with perfectly poached eggs with a side of potatoes. It’s so rustic and southern comfort on a plate.

Noble Crust

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Smoked salmon, sautéed spinach and a perfect poach on a biscuit. Jaw dropping and mouthwatering.

Timpano Tampa

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Smoked Salmon and bacon that is served on top of Na’an bread. Everything about this is yes, yes, yes.

The Lodge

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Sautéed shrimp, Asparagus, Tomato topped with a little tempura asparagus served on a sourdough muffin.  This eggs benny means serious business.

 
If you have a place you would like to nominate then submit it to here.

Categories
Copenhagen Dinner Florida Lunch Oklahoma

Top 5 Taco Spots

Everyone knows tacos give life a new meaning. The taco scene has been heating up lately. Street taco trucks are taking over the streets in many cities. The new Netflix series Taco City focuses on many styles of tacos especially the Al Pastor taco. I’m sure at this point it seems that tacos have been covered a million times but Mettlefork wants it’s lion share of delicious tacos too. My list is ever changing so be sure to check back from time to time. As I discover a new taco spot that is worthy of the top 5 I want to share that with you. I know there are many places out there that echo what Ludacris says “I’m coming for that number 1 spot”. Mettlefork is here for it..I live tacos. If you think someone is deserving of the list let me know in the comments below.
I present the current top 5 taco spots:
Number 1. Hija de Sanchez Tacos – Copenhagen, Denmark
You’ll need your passport to get to these tacos but they are so good they are worth the plan ride. To see the full review click here.
Number 2. Capital Tacos – Tampa, Fl

“Keep it Capital”

There are several Capital One Taco spots located throughout the greater Tampa Bay Region. Their taco options are vast and there is a special taco out there for everyone. Check out more here
Number 3. Oso – (Paseo) OKC, Oklahoma

These tacos are O so special

Located in the artsy district of Oklahoma City, tacos have become Oso’s masterpiece.  Their fish taco will blow you out the water. For a full review click here.
Number 4. Fuzzy’s Taco – Tampa, Fl
I realize they are a chain but that doesn’t mean they don’t serve up good tacos. Stop by and give them a chance.
Number 5. Tijuana Flats – Tampa,Fl
From the sick vibes and wall art down ton their crunchy tacos. Tijuana flats is definitely worth a try. They also have about 20 hot sauces to choose from if you are brave enough.
Taco lovers unite!

Drool….

Categories
Dinner Florida Lunch

Capital Tacos Tampa Florida

Keep it Capital! Did you know according to Yelp, Capital Tacos is the number 2 taco spot in the U.S.? I surely didn’t, but that definitely explains why they are so damn delicious. Capital Taco boasts an extensive and flavor intensive menu. With names like Catawampus and Longrider who wouldn’t be intrigued by all the taco’s they offer. I usually order at least 4 different ones as I am trying to eat my way through their menu to find my absolute fav. It’s no easy task but somefoodies got to do it. The flavor combinations they create are astronomical. And you know the taco is good when the juice runs down your elbow.

The only thing that gives those tacos a run for their money is the fountain soda. It is pure heaven. I get the orange and it tastes like dreamsicle. It is a refreshing break from the PepsiCo and Coca-Cola choices almost every restaurant offers. Moreover, I love that they use state license plate “numbers” for ordering. It is an original way to keep track of dine-in and carry out orders instead of the old numerical or name system. As an added bonus it doubles as a conversation starter. On our first trip my husband got Oklahoma, my home state. I teased him about being an okie and how it was truly destiny that he got that particular one.
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Capital Taco’s currently has one location close to my vicinity and that is in Wesley Chapel and its about a 45 minute drive. Is it worth the 45 minutes? Absolutely! Since Capital Tacos tacos are soooooo good, it would be a shame to keep them tucked away in Wesley Chapel. The most exciting news I had heard in awhile is that Capital Tacos is expanding. Imagine my excitement when I found out they were opening a new location in Brandon, FL. That is literally 10 minutes from my front door.. Oh Taco Day! In addition to the one in Brandon, FL they are also opening a location in New Port Richey, FL. You literally have no excuse not to give them a try. I follow their Instagram and they recently announced they are offering frozen sangrias and frozen margaritas at the Brandon location…YAY!! It just keeps getting better and better right? Don’t wait for Taco Tuesday to get in on this awesomeness at Capital Tacos everyday is taco day.
Remember to Keep it Capital!

Categories
Florida Lunch

Fresh Kitchen is a breath of fresh air in Soho

Fresh Kitchen…fast food reimagined.
Veterans day is the one day a year that vets like myself can eat almost anywhere.  Today I chose Fresh Kitchen and here’s why.  First off, the FK concept is dope…you get to choose your base, vegetables and protein.  Second, everything is prepared for you in assembly line fashion so it’s super quick. Lastly it’s fresh and freaking delicious. Does one really need any other reasons besides the last?
On any given day you can create a personalized bowl. You have the option  to choose a four, six or eight bowl.  Each bowl varies in the number of proteins and veggies you can choose.
To start making your bowl you choose from either quinoa, rice, mashed sweet potatoes,  or sweet potato noodles etc. as your base ( I chose mashed sweet potatoes and quinoa YUM).  Next you can choose your vegetables and today the options were broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, and brussel sprouts.  I went for the greener route and chose the brussel sprouts, although it was hard to resist those mushrooms.  The protein choices were buffalo chicken, steak, tofu, tuna poke, almond crusted chicken strips and bbq chicken.  It was a toss up between the almond crusted chicken strips and the bbq chicken, ultimately I thought the bbq chicken would pair best with the sweet potatoes.  Last on the line are their sauces, there are too many to mention here (like 8) besides I forgot due to brain overload.  I will tell you that the holy kale won my heart over and my husband got the jalapeño cucumber.

 
Fresh Kitchen also offers freshly pressed juices for sale.  I love this option because it’s nice to have a beverage that isn’t soda or water.  Plus they have perfected blends whereas I’m still going with my kale and pear recipe.  They are already pre-packaged and ready for you to grab on your way through the line.  Fresh Kitchen is very easily one of my husbands favorite spots to eat in Tampa and I’m sure once you give them a try it will be yours too.  But don’t wait for a special holiday to visit, you’ll be just as happy on a regular Tuesday.

Categories
Florida Food Truck

SmokinBowls Food Truck

Every first Wednesday of the month, I get excited because the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta is held gaslight park.  This Wednesday was no different and I set sail towards the park to see what food trucks were being showcased.  I always slight anxiety over the food trucks that will be present because it’s nice to see new food trucks and not the same ones every month.   Here I was face to face with several new choices and a decision to make.  I proceeded to take what I’ve deemed the famous food truck walk.  This is when I walk by each food truck and read their menu to see if anything appeals to my appetite.  I made it about halfway through and there it was – my Wednesday grub….  SmokinBowls Food Truck.  Their food truck is alluring tricked out with a sugar skull giving it a west coast feel.  Not to mention the name – SmokinBowl.  I was already on cloud nine and I hadn’t even had a bite to eat yet.


Esquites

I had never had elotes before, but in all honesty I was down to try it because it looked and sounded like something I’d want to get in my belly.  The best way I can describe it is that it is like deconstructed street corn but smokinbowls calls them Esquites.  Packed atop of the corn off the cob was garlic mayo, cotija cheese, house roasted Cali chili powder, cilantro with charred onion cream and a lime.  It may or may not sound like a lot depending on how you’ve had your elites but I can tell you it was packed full of flavor.  And if cheese and mayo aren’t your thing, they also offer a vegan option.  Below you can see the portion size and that was only $4 how can you beat a deal like that?

 


Loaded Tostones

If I haven’t convinced you to try the esquites perhaps I can entice you to try the loaded tostones instead.  When I say loaded…I mean more loaded than a 9mm in the holster without the safety on.. POW!  These tostones are killing it.  Packed on these to stones are beef, marinated cabbage, carrot and cilantro slaw, cotija cheese, chili salted radish, Colorado red eye salsa and TAHTAS sauce.  If your mouth isn’t watering yet, go see your dentist.  20171101_131921.jpg


Walking Tacos

I did not have the pleasure of trying the walking tacos on this visit but given their reputation on the two former dishes, I’m confident that these hit the mark.  The walking tacos allows you to choose your choice of protein (beef, chicken, pork or vegetarian/vegan) over fritos garnished with marinated cabbage, cumin scented black beans, carrot and cilantro slaw, cotija cheese and TAHTAS sauce

 
If you want to follow smokinbowls click here and find their schedule.  They run up and down the west coast of Tampa Bay.  When you order tell them Mettlefork sent you!  Hopefully I’ll see you at the next Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta.

Categories
Florida Lunch

Bulla Gastrobar

Bulla Gastrobar

930 S. Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33606

Nestled right in the heart of Soho is Bulla Gastrobar.  It sits across from Daily Eats which is a popular food establishment in its own right.  Each restaraunt that lines Howard has its own unique flair and that is what makes choosing a place to each difficult at times.  Vying for my attention today was Bulla Gastrobar. Bulla as it says in the title is a Gastrobar meaning they specialize in tapas style dining.  Everything offered is pretty much a small plate with the exception of some lunch and dinner items.  Bulla serves up authentic tapas style spanish food..like from Spain spanish.
When I dropped in for a quick bite to eat,  I decided a seat at the bar would be just fine.  That is where I met Nic, my super cool bartender that took the time to go over everything with me and make a recommendation or two.  Since I was working, I couldn’t partake in a tasty adult beverage but he offered to make me a handmade lemonade.  I quickly accepted and thank goodness I did because it was both exquisite and delicious.  I was a few sips into my drink and then I saw it… fresh mint, basil and rosemary lining the bar.  I asked the bartender if he could add basil to my lemonade (of course he could) he obliged and even made one for himself too.  So there we were enjoying our basil lemonades, a first for him and satisfyingly refreshing for me.


Patatas Bravas

Para Empezar – For starters I chose the patatas braves at the recommendation of Nic.  These are crispy potato cubes covered in spicy brava sauce and topped with an aioli. When they first arrived they looked beautiful.  They were fresh nice and hot, fresh out the fryer and then covered in the spicy brava sauce and aioli.  It is a good thing I’m a fan of spicy because the kick took me by surprise.  It wasn’t fire breathing dragon spicy but it did have a decent amount of zip to it.  At $6.50 it was well worth the order.  Not only did it awaken my taste buds but it also filled me up pretty good.  The portion size is enough for two people to share.


Camarones Al Curry 

It’s always good to have something to balance out the spice so I ordered the camarones al curry also known as shrimp curry.  The curry has more of an Indian curry connotation as opposed to a Thai curry so it had more of sweet and savory flavor profile as opposed to spicy.  The camarones al curry had artichoke confit, steamed rice and cream and bread.  To make this dish gluten free you can just skip the bread.  The only thing that could have made this dish perfect was more cilantro. I am a cilantro lover and just the hint sent my craving into overdrive.   The shrimp was cooked to perfection and not rubbery or overdone.  The artichokes added a nice zest and wouldn’t be something I would have thought to add.  I just dipped each one in the cream sauce and add them individually.  Everything was portioned out perfect, by the time I finished I didn’t have too much rice or too little shrimp.

 
I wholly enjoyed my lunchtime visit at Bulla.  It wasn’t too crowded, the service was great and the food was marvelous.  I look forward to going back for either brunch or dinner AND trying dessert in the near future.

Categories
Dinner Florida Lunch

Midici's – St. Pete's newest pizza place

Midici’s : The Napolean Pizza Company

2424 Tyrone Blvd. St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Sharing a slice of pie is what friends do. Whether in the comfort of your own home or out at a restaurant, pizza among friends is like honor among thieves – It doesn’t get any more serious.  When I received the invite to dine and looked up Midici, I was thrilled to know that a new pizza joint was coming to the bay area adding some variety to the pizza scene.  Little did I know they came to take over the number 1 spot.

Categories
Florida Lunch

Spain Restaurant

My husband came downtown and met me for lunch.  A rare occasion, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to try a new spot with him.  We walked up and down the street as I pointed out all the places I had tried, then he saw it.  Spain.  We walked in and out wasn’t what I initially expected.  It was very clean looking, white interior and tables placed along large windows in the front.  Along the back wall was the serving line.  Since we were new we got the rundown of how it works and the customer favorites.

Picadillo

Ground beef, onions, olives, tomatoes and sofrito are all part of this dish.  When I was pregnant with Sicily, mett and olives became close friends.  Now anytime I see olives in a dish I’m drawn to it. I decided to get yellow rice and black beans as my sides.  This was a first for me and it was so good my husband asked me to make it. I used my spoon and just ate a little but of each with every bite.  Every spoonful was a little bit salty and a little bit savory. This is one of their best sellers and I can easily see why.  It was scrumptious or as it is said in Spanish riquísumo.
 

Stuffed Fish

 
My husband ordered the stuffed fish. It was a white fish amd he had beck beans amd yellow rice with plantains as his side’s.  He wasn’t wowed with this dish but he wasn’t unhappy either.  After tasting the picadillo I’m sure anything else would be a disappointment.

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Overall,  I enjoyed my experience.  I would definitely make a return trip to try more from their lunch specials.  I have a soft spot for authentic food and Spain Restaurant delivers authentic. Authentic food always gives me some cooking inspiration.
(See photo below for my rendition of picadillo) The husband and kid approved!!
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Categories
Dinner Florida

The Mill

I’ve been anticipating my visit to the Mill since the 15th of August- opening day.  I drove by the new location that day and they were putting the finishing touches on the place, I hadn’t been back since.  I resorted to stalking their menu until I could find the time to go.   This past Friday night that time finally came and I had successfully convinced my husband to go.  Best Decision Ever!! and he’ll vouch for that.
The Mill has this cool vibe to it.  The lighting is dim and gives the illusion of an industrial place – like a Mill but also has a romantic vibe.  It’s the perfect place for either date night or family night.  The menu is broken up in first, second and third plates each offering generous portions.  Everything was beyond amazing and totally worth the trip.  In hindsight, it was probably better that I didn’t go on opening day because we were able to sit and enjoy our time.  I was even able to get my little foodie to try everything we ate and expand her palate.  Here is a breakdown of all the yummy goodness we had.


Cheese & Charcuterie

This cheese and charcuterie gives you so many options to choose from. You can choose from a choice of three, five or seven house made charcuterie and cheeses.  It comes with the standard accoutrements of Mostrada, Honeycomb, Seasonal Marmalade, Carmalized Garlic, Porter Mustard, and Bitter Chocolate.  Now fasten your seatbelt because here is where things get exciting.  The Mill Charcuterie is all made in house and will send your taste buds on a roller coaster ride.

Duck Bacon * Espresso Venison Pastrami * Foie Gras Torchon * Mill Pork Rinds

Lamb Belly Bacon * Octopus Bacon * Exotic Mushroom Terrine

Canadian Gator Bacon * Smoked Salmon * Confit Oysters


We selected the option of 5 which included Canadian Gator Bacon, Duck Bacon and the Foie Gras Torchon for our Charcuterie and it was paired with Brie and Gouda cheese.   I had enjoyed a cheese tasting once before and I throughout enjoyed it.  This however was something I will never forget, it was a life changing experience.  This dish was meant to play on all of your taste buds: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour and Savory.  First of all, I’ve never had honey comb before and if you haven’t it is a must!  The honeycomb itself was almost waxy but in a delicate way.  The honey was soft and sweet almost velvety when you bit it.  The chocolate was great and although it was a bitter chocolate it didn’t taste bitter at all.  The caramelized garlic was delicious, I didn’t care if my breath was about to stink because I was going all the way in (it didn’t smell garlicky after all).  The brie was smooth and I kept spreading it on the toast over and over and just eating it.  Lastly, the marmalade was so freaking yummy, I ate it by itself lol.
Now the Main Event, the Star of the Show, the Talk of the Town – The Charcuterie.  Say it with me,  Bay- Bee (in your most southern voice)!  The Canadian Gator Bacon was tender, salty, smoky.. it was everything.  My daughter enjoyed it so much that we just let her have at it.  It’s always nice when kids try something new so I wanted to feed her enthusiasm about it.  The duck bacon was amazing, but then again when is anything duck not amazing.  We split the slices of duck amongst us until we could no longer cut slivers.  Lastly the foie gras, this was at the bottom of the list for both my husband and my daughter but I enjoyed it.  I paired it with some of the porter mustard and had at it.  If you’ve made it this far without drooling on yourself congratulations.  My jaws are getting that tingling feeling just from writing this and I’m getting the itch to go again.


Watermelon Bruschetta

The name of this should really be mouth watering melon bruschetta. I don’t even know where to start so I guess I’ll tell you what’s on it.  Layered atop a rustic loaf is watermelon, tomato, European cucumber, whipped feta, and smoked pistachio brittle with Añejo agave syrup drizzled on top. All I can say is good googly moogly that thang is good.  Everything about that bruschetta works in unison. The cucumber, watermelon and tomato remind me of summer day. The pistachio brittle adds texture and was an unexpected surprise. When you visit even if you get another first course,  you have to add this.


Sweet Potato Soup

I believe that the best way to welcome fall is with soup.  Even though Florida doesn’t really have a true fall season, it’s still  nice to enjoy a bowl of soup during the fall months.  Soup not only warms the body, it also warms the soul.   The right soup can bring back many memories.   This sweet potato soup is one of a kind. I’ve had tons of tomato soup, butternut squash soup and lobster bisques.  This soup was like thanksgiving in a bowl. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and was balanced perfectly with the pecans.  They truly captured the essence of a sweet potato pie in a soup.  It was the soup of the day so if you catch it on the menu ORDER IT. I promise you won’t be sorry.

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Sorghum Braised Pork Cheek

From the second plate we ordered the Sorghum Braised Pork Cheek.  It was served in a cast iron skilled on a bed of sweet corn casserole then topped with spiced apple cider slaw, natural jus and crispy smoked onion.  The pork cheek was so tender you could tell that it has been roasting away for hours in the natural jus.  We were so full at this point I only took a few bites then packed it up to bring home.  The next day I reheated it and man oh man it was just as amazing as the night before.  You know something magical has been created when you can reheat it and it tastes just the same or better.  The sweetness from the corn casserole was balanced out by the jus and the pork cheek.  The apple cider slaw added just enough acidity to give it a nice crunchy bite.  The second bite is enough for two people to share as a large appetizer or one person to eat as a main entree.  I truly believe this entree recipe was dreamt up in a southern chef’s kitchen because everything about this says southern comfort.

I’m looking forward to going back and trying the third plates and trying either the seared  diver scallops, honey seared tuna or the lamb shank pot pie.  So many delicious options to choose from but after experiencing the first two plates I’d expect nothing less.  If the Mill isn’t on your list of restaurants to visit, it should be.  I see the word regular next to customer and my name in the near future.

The Mill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato